Schreiber at the 7th Annual Chanel Tribeca Film Festival Artists Dinner 2012.
|Born||Isaac Liev Schreiber
October 4, 1967
San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, producer, director, screenwriter|
|Partner(s)||Naomi Watts (2005–present)|
Isaac Liev Schreiber (//; born October 4, 1967) is an American actor, producer, director, and screenwriter. He became known during the late 1990s and early 2000s, having appeared in several independent films, and later mainstream Hollywood films, including the Scream trilogy of horror films, Phantoms, The Sum of All Fears, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Salt, Taking Woodstock and Goon. Schreiber is also a respected stage actor, having performed in several Broadway productions. In 2005, Schreiber won a Tony Award as Best Featured Actor for his performance in the play Glengarry Glen Ross. That year, Schreiber also made his debut as a film director and writer with Everything Is Illuminated, based on the novel of the same name. He also plays the eponymous lead character on the Showtime series Ray Donovan.
Early life and family background
Schreiber was born Isaac Liev Schreiber in San Francisco, California, the son of Heather (née Milgram) and Tell Schreiber, a stage actor and director. Schreiber's father is from a wealthy Protestant society family from Bucks County, Pennsylvania; Tell's family had lived in the United States for many generations, and his ancestry includes German, Swiss-German, Danish, Dutch, English, French, Irish, Norwegian, Belgian (Flemish), Scottish, and Welsh. Liev's father graduated from Hampshire College and was a wrestling and football star. Schreiber's mother, who now lives on an ashram in Virginia, was born into a Brooklyn working-class household of Communists; her family was Jewish (descended from immigrants from Poland and Russia). With a firm knowledge of classical music and Russian literature, Liev's mother has been described by Schreiber as a "far-out Socialist Labor Party hippie bohemian freak who hung out with William Burroughs." When Heather was twelve, her own mother, Liev's grandmother, was lobotomized. His mother has said that she named him after her favorite Russian author, Leo Tolstoy, while his father has stated that Schreiber was named after the doctor who saved his mother's life. His family nickname, adopted when Schreiber was a baby, is "Huggy."
When Schreiber was one year old, his family moved to Canada, winding up in the unincorporated rural area of Winlaw, in the Slocan Valley. Prior to this point, according to Liev's father, Tell, at the beginning of their marriage (in San Francisco), Heather had a bad experience on LSD. Over the next four years, she was repeatedly admitted to hospitals and underwent therapy. After Tell threatened to admit her to a mental institution, she left with her son. As Tell pursued his wife, Liev and his mother were trailed by private detectives in various states; when he was three, his father kidnapped him from an upstate New York commune to which Heather had decamped. By the time Liev was four, he was living with her on the fourth floor of a dilapidated walkup at First Avenue and First Street in New York City (his half brothers from her first marriage were with their father in a duplex on Central Park West), and he was the object of a fierce custody battle, which bankrupted his maternal grandfather, Alex Milgram. Milgram, who was the most significant male in Schreiber’s youth, played the cello and owned Renoir etchings, and made his living by delivering meat to restaurants). When Schreiber was five, his parents divorced; his mother won custody, and the two moved to a cold-water flat on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, New York City, where he was raised. They frequently had no electricity, hot water, or even beds.
His mother was "a highly cultured eccentric" who supported them by splitting her time between driving a cab and creating papier-mâché puppets." On Schreiber's 16th birthday, his mother bought him a motorcycle, "to promote fearlessness." The critic John Lahr wrote in a 1999 New Yorker profile that, "To a large extent, Schreiber's professional shape-shifting and his uncanny instinct for isolating the frightened, frail, goofy parts of his characters are a result of being forced to adapt to his mother's eccentricities. It's both his grief and his gift." He endured her mood swings and bohemian proclivities which included making him take Hindu names, wear yoga shirts, and forcing Liev, briefly, to go to an Ashram school in Connecticut when he was 12. Schreiber's mother also forbade Schreiber from seeing color movies. As a result, his favorite actors were Charlie Chaplin and Basil Rathbone.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s Schreiber, known then as Shiva Das, lived at the Satchidananda Ashram, Yogaville East, in Pomfret, Connecticut. He also abided by his mother's vegetarian diet. In retrospect, Schreiber said in a 2008 interview, he appreciates his mother's influences, saying, "Since I've had Sasha, I've completely identified with everything my mother went through raising me...And I think her choices were inspired."
Subsequently, Schreiber attended Friends Seminary at the same time as future actress Amanda Peet. Schreiber went on to Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts where he began his acting training at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, via the Five Colleges consortium. In March 1989 Liev played Antonio in the Merchant of Venice alongside Jeffrey Donovan. Liev graduated with a master's degree from the Yale School of Drama in 1992, where he starred in Charles Evered's The Size of the World, directed by Walton Jones. At Yale, Liev studied with Earle R. Gister. He also attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He originally wanted to be a screenwriter, but was steered toward acting instead.
Schreiber had several supporting roles in various independent films until his big break, as the accused murderer Cotton Weary in the Scream trilogy of horror films. Though the success of the Scream trilogy would lead Schreiber to roles in several big-budget studio pictures, Entertainment Weekly wrote in 2007 that "Schreiber is [still] best known for such indie gems as Walking and Talking, The Daytrippers, and Big Night."
After Scream, Schreiber was cast as the young Orson Welles in the HBO original movie RKO 281, for which he was nominated for Emmy and Golden Globe Awards. He then played supporting roles in several studio films, including the 2000 movie version of Hamlet with Ethan Hawke, also Ron Howard's 1996 remake of Ransom with Mel Gibson, The Hurricane with Denzel Washington, and he played Tom Clancy's fictional C.I.A. super spy and assassin John Clark in The Sum of All Fears with Ben Affleck. The 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate, with Washington and Meryl Streep, was another major film for the actor, stirring some controversy as it opened during a heated presidential election cycle. Schreiber also played Robert Thorn with Julia Stiles in the 2006 film The Omen, a remake of the 1976 horror classic The Omen. He played the time-traveling ex-boyfriend of Meg Ryan in Kate and Leopold, also starring Hugh Jackman.
Along with his screen work, Schreiber is a well-respected classical actor; in a 1998 review of the Shakespeare play Cymbeline, The New York Times called his performance "revelatory" and ended the article with the plea, "More Shakespeare, Mr. Schreiber." A year later, Schreiber played the title role in Hamlet in a December 1999 revival at The Public Theater, to similar raves. In 2000, he went on to play Laertes in the film Hamlet, a modern adaptation of the play.
His performance in the title role of Henry V in a 2003 Central Park production of that play caused Lahr to expound upon his aptitude at playing Shakespeare. "He has a swiftness of mind," Lahr wrote, "which convinces the audience that language is being coined in the moment. His speech, unlike that of the merely adequate supporting cast, feels lived rather than learned."
Narration and voiceover work
Schreiber has narrated a number of documentaries, along with Michael G. Stanton, many of them aired as part of PBS series such as American Experience, Nova, and Secrets of the Dead from 2001 to 2011. He is also the voice behind the television commercials for Infiniti.
In 1994, he narrated Two Billion Hearts, the official film of 1994 World Cup.
Schreiber is also the voice of HBO's Sports of the 20th Century documentaries. Similarly, Schreiber is also the narrator of HBO Boxing's Countdown and 24/7 documentary series. Schreiber served as the voice of Skeletor in the 2002 incarnation of Masters of the Universe. Schreiber narrated Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009, and Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals and Broad Street Bullies in 2010, on HBO. Schreiber provided the narration for "Making of Pumping Iron" documentary that is included in a special anniversary edition of the movie Pumping Iron. He also narrated the History Channel specials Ape to Man, The Lost Kennedy Home Movies, and America: The Story of Us.
Schreiber reprised his role as narrator for HBO's 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic NHL documentary, which followed the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals as they prepared to face each other in the 2011 NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 1, 2011. Once again, Schreiber was the narrator for the HBO series, 24/7 : Road to the Winter Classic. That year, the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers battled in the Classic, at Citizen's Bank Park in the 2012 NHL Winter Classic. Schreiber has also reprised his role as the narrator in HBO's 2012 season of Hard Knocks featuring the Miami Dolphins.
Schreiber also narrated the 2011 documentary Hitler's G.I. Death Camp on the National Geographic Channel. The newly released 2012 "Kinderblock 66" is narrated by Schreiber. Schreiber narrated the 2013 documentary "Money for Nothing".
Directing and 2000s work
Schreiber told The New Yorker in 1999 that "I don't know that I want to be an actor for the rest of my life." For a time in the late nineties, he hoped to produce and direct an adaptation of The Merchant of Venice starring Dustin Hoffman. In that time, Schreiber started writing a screenplay about his relationship with his Ukrainian grandfather, a project he abandoned when, according to The New York Times, "he read Jonathan Safran Foer's hit novel, Everything Is Illuminated, and decided Mr. Foer had done it better." Schreiber's film adaptation of the short story from which the novel originated, which he both wrote and directed, was released in 2005. The film, which starred Elijah Wood, received lukewarm-to-positive reviews, with Roger Ebert calling it "a film that grows in reflection."
In 2002, he starred in Neil LaBute's play The Mercy Seat along with Sigourney Weaver on Off-Broadway that was critically and commercially very successful. In the spring of 2005, Schreiber essayed the role of Richard Roma in the Broadway revival of David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross. As Roma, Schreiber won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play.
In 2006, Schreiber was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In fall of that year, Schreiber directed and starred in the "2006 Join the Fight" AIDS PSA campaign for Cable Positive and Kismet Films (others involved with the campaign included actress Naomi Watts, fashion designer Calvin Klein, and playwright Tony Kushner).
Schreiber played Charlie Townsend in the 2006 film The Painted Veil, starring opposite Watts and Edward Norton. In the same year, Schreiber also appeared in The Omen, which was a remake of the 1976 film of the same name. For television, the actor portrayed a character who temporarily replaces Gil Grissom, played by William Petersen, in the CBS show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, during the 2006–2007 season. He played Michael Keppler, a seasoned CSI with a strong reputation in various police departments across the nation, before joining the veteran Las Vegas team. Schreiber joined the cast on January 18, 2007 and shot a four-episode arc.
Schreiber appeared in the Broadway revival of Eric Bogosian's Talk Radio. The show began previews at the Longacre Theatre on February 15, 2007 in preparation for its March opening. On May 11, 2007, He won the Drama League Award for distinguished performance for his portrayal of shock jock "Barry Champlain" in Talk Radio, and has received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for the role. The New York Times' Ben Brantley called his performance "the most lacerating portrait of a human meltdown this side of a Francis Bacon painting."
Schreiber played the womanizing Lotario Thurgot in Mike Newell's screen adaptation of Love in the Time of Cholera, released in 2007. In a January 2007 interview, Schreiber mentioned that he was working on a screenplay.
Late in 2008, Schreiber portrayed Jewish resistance fighter, Zus Bielski in the film Defiance, alongside Daniel Craig. In February 2008, 20th Century Fox announced Schreiber would play the mutant supervillain, Sabretooth in the Marvel Comics film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, released on May 1, 2009. This was the second film he has done with Hugh Jackman. In March 2010, it was announced that he was interested in returning for Scream 4, portraying Cotton Weary a fourth time (the film was subsequently made without his involvement).
Rumors regarding his relationship with British-Australian actress Naomi Watts (with whom he appeared in The Painted Veil) have questioned whether the couple are married. In January 2010 Watts was quoted saying that Schreiber had given her a ring (which she was not wearing at the time) but that neither of them wanted to rush into marriage. At Tropfest on 22 June 2013 Liev referred to Naomi as his wife.
Their first son, Alexander Pete, was born in 2007. They call him Sasha, a Russian nickname variation of the name Alexander. In 2008 Watts gave birth to the couple's second son, Samuel Kai. In April 2010 Watts said that the pair would have a third child if they could be guaranteed a baby girl.
- Biography for Liev Schreiber at the Internet Movie Database
- Lahr, chris (1999-12-13). "Fresh Prince: Why Liev Schreiber is Ready to Play Hamlet". The New Yorker. pp. 46–52.
- Dougherty, Margot (January 2009). "Knotty Pinings". LA. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
- Roston, Tom (January 1, 2009). "Liev Schreiber enjoys fatherhood and playing opposite Daniel Craig in 'Defiance.'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
- Bednářová, Veronika (2004-07-07). "Mining Cultural Identity and a Writer's Motives" (PDF). Festival Daily. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- 404 error[dead link]
- "404 error". The Times.[dead link]
- Hong, Catherine (October 2008). "Liev Schreiber". W. Retrieved 2008-11-19.
- Blair, Cynthia (2008). "1984: Liev Schreiber Enrolls at Friends Seminary in NYC". Newsday. Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- "In Step With: Liev Schreiber". Parade Magazine. July 4, 2004.
- "Earle Gister, Yale Acting Master, Stages His Passion, The Seagull, in NYC, May 24–29". Playbill.com. 2004-05-24. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
- Rice, Lynette (2007-01-26). "Liev Among the Dead". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- Marks, Peter (1998-08-17). "Theater Review: Fairy-Tale Plottings of a British Royal Family". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
- Lahr, John (2003-07-28). "Time Trials". The New Yorker. pp. 88–91. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- Finn, Robin (2003-01-08). "A Role That's Hard to Shake Off: The 9/11 Antihero". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- "Everything is Illuminated". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
- "The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences" (Press release). Academy Invites 120 to Membership. July 5, 2006. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- Graser, Marc; Siegel, Tatiana (2008-02-19). "Reynolds, will.i.am join 'Wolverine'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- "Liev Schreiber on Scream 4; Is He In or Out?". DreadCentral.
- "Who Won't Be Returning in 'Scream IV'? Cotton Weary". BloodyDisgusting.
- Logan, Michael (October 14, 2013). "The Comics' Real Heroes". TV Guide. p. 27.
- "Naomi Watts Refuses To Rush Into Marriage With Liev Schreiber". Exposay.com. 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
- "Naomi Watts & Liev Schreiber Have a Baby Boy". People. 2007-07-26. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- Lynn, Megan (2007-07-26). "At Last! Naomi Watts Gives Birth to Baby Boy". Us Weekly. Archived from the original on February 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- Hamm, Liza; McNeil, Liz (2008-12-14). "Naomi Watts & Liev Schreiber Have a Baby Boy". People. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- Hamm, Liza (2008-12-15). "Naomi Watts & Liev Schreiber Name Baby Samuel". People. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
- 05:00 PM ET (2010-04-28). "Naomi Watts’ Wish? A Baby Girl Guarantee!". Celebritybabies.people.com. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Liev Schreiber.|
- Liev Schreiber at the Internet Broadway Database
- Liev Schreiber at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Liev Schreiber at the Internet Movie Database
- Liev Schreiber at the TCM Movie Database
- Interview with Details
- Interview with Men's Vogue
- Interview with W magazine